Sunshine and Sangria: Four Days in San Juan!

Oh, how we wish we could go back to San Juan, Puerto Rico! As we sit here to write this blog a month later in the snow and chill of our home state, San Juan sounds incredibly ideal right now. But it’s over. And we’re back. Oh well. At least we can live on the memories until our next trip to somewhere just as nice.

On the Rocks

Cheril on the Rocks

This was our second time visiting this beautiful little island, but it truly felt like the first. When we went years ago it was a part of a cruise and the day we pulled into the port of San Juan was filled with gray skies and rain. We didn’t get to see much and barely remembered anything except one of the forts after we’d left.

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This time was different. We ditched the cruise experience and flew right in, renting our own apartment instead of getting a hotel room. We wanted to sink into the Puerto Rican culture more than we could with a typical tourist stay so we planted roots in the residential neighborhood of Miramar, just a little ways outside of where most people opt to lodge, and hung out with some locals. On the way there, our driver gave us a quick overview of everything we were passing, the most interesting of which were the caserios de San Juan. These are basically Puerto Rican projects but bigger than we’ve every known any projects to be. It was like it’s only little city with heavy police (we were told—we didn’t venture in), it’s own school, etc. It kind sucks from the outside looking in because when you think of a project set up in which “they” have their own school, police, medical, you can’t help but realize the chances of folks getting out most be pretty slim. We were told to stay away from there because “not even the locals go over there.” And of course we had no plans of being the curious visitors who found themselves in danger, so we took heed.

The picture below is not that of a caserio, they look more like this. What’s below is just some street art we saw on the way to our apartment.

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Anyway, this was our 8th anniversary wedding trip, but we didn’t need for it to be filled with romance (a little was enough). We really just wanted a relaxing long weekend, with just a splash of adventure and culture. That’s exactly what we got! 🙂

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Five Reasons We Chose Puerto Rico:

  1. It’s a short flight from Philadelphia, our home airport.
  2. You don’t need a passport because it’s a US territory.
  3. There is no hassle with customs when coming home for the same reason above.
  4. A lot of people seem friendly and eager to make sure you’re eating well.
  5. Puerto Ricans party hard (even though we wanted to relax, we found ourselves in the middle of their biggest annual street festival–non-stop partying all day into the wee hours of the morning).

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We had no idea when we touched down that it was the weekend of San Sebastian. After peeling off the layers we’d worn down from New Jersey and quickly acclimating to the humidity and heat, we were told that we “were in luck” because everyone was in party mode for the next three days. They weren’t lying. lol Check out the robot DJ at one of the sound stages that were stationed in Old San Juan.

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He was killing it. The party was jumping. And this is where we ended up the first night. There were thousands of people partying in the streets.

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We weren’t out there too late though. It was also mostly a young crowd and there is only so much of that Cheril can take as she tip-toes into he rmid-30s. Monica, on the other hand, can party until her body forces her to stop. lol After a while we made our way away from the crowds toward the waters and found a nice place to cuddle up on a bench and enjoy the night air.

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This first night was exactly what we wanted. We are always going, and going, and going, between work, school, the gym, our business endeavors and family that we have to make sure we take time to just stop and be still. It’s okay to do nothing. In fact, it’s in those uncluttered moments that our minds and bodies rejuvenate the most. It’s when we get even more ideas on how we can live a fuller life. Those moments of fruitful monotony are the best!

What kind of spider is this??

What kind of spider is this??

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Warm, lazy days with random cats and bedazzled spiders…can’t wait to do something like this  again. lol We did have a challenge this trip, however, and that was the food.

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Monica is prepping for her first fitness competition and fat and carb heavy foods were abound, just tempting her for the hell of it. But she was strong. And if there was a moment of weakness, an hour of cardio had to make up for it. Vacation or no vacation, that discipline had to stay in place. So take that, arroz con camarón y plátanos! jaja. Monica did pretty well and is still on track! Cheril, who is not competing but training along side for moral support, could indulge in a little carb fest.

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We have different goals so our meal plans are different.

DSC_0717Anyway, the first two days Monica went on and on about wanting to move there (she does this all the time), while Cheril warned the humidity and reality of the climate would sink in soon enough. It’s HOT. lol. Yes, we wanted a break from the cold, but god damn it was HOT! haha The heat isn’t as bad as the humidity and as a Florida native, Cheril knew this all too well. By day three Monica said, “okay, we can just visit.”

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Now that’s more like it. lol. We lazied around on the beach, but didn’t spend as much time there as we though we would. We ventured back and forth to Old San Juan to enjoy the festival and took a day to go explore the El Yunque Rainforest.

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This was a beautiful stop and well worth the visit. Monica had a ball, as you can see. lol.

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Our tour guide

Our tour guide at El Yunque

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She was dancing her but off on those stilts!

This was an enjoyable trip and one we’d recommend if you want a quick escape from frigid temperatures. One other highlight of going to San Jan for us was that Cheril finally got to meet the producer who had licensed and produced Cheril’s play (Intimate Chaos) in Puerto Rico a few years ago. It was performed under the name Caos Intimo.

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Have you been to Puerto Rico? If so, what was your experience. If not, would you like to?

Until next time…adios!

At Lima Restaurante

At Lima Restaurante

4 thoughts on “Sunshine and Sangria: Four Days in San Juan!

  1. Michael Shepherd

    Thanks for sharing. Keep it up. I felt as if I was there. The best part of my trip to Puerto Rico has always been staying with a local family whether it was Rene’s or my significant other years ago.

    1. cheril Post author

      Thanks for reading, Mikey! We’re trying to keep a mix to our getaways—sometimes more local and involved and other times more removed and secluded. lol

  2. Claudia Moss

    What an awesome post, Cheril and Monica! Wow! If your trips get any better, I will have to learn to pray harder. Qué fabuloso!

    The photos were amazing, and what a blessing to have met the producer of Cheril’s play. I love receiving your updates!

    Keep modeling luxurious living!

    Claudia

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